The She Beast

Year Of Release: 1966
Running Time: 82 Minutes
DVD Released By: Alpha
Directed By: Mike Reeves
Writing Credits: Michael Byron
Filming Location: Unknown

Starring: Barbara Steele, John Karlsen, Ian Oglivy, Mel Welles, Jay Riley, Richard Watson, Edward B. Randolph, Tony Antonelli, Peter Grippe, Lucretia Love, Kevin Welles, Woody Welles

Tagline: Deadlier than Dracula! Wilder than the Werewolf! More frightening than Frankenstein!

Alternate Titles:
Lago di Satana, Il (1966) (Italy)
Revenge of the Blood Beast (1966)
Satan's Sister (1966)
She-Beast, The (1966)
Sister of Satan (1966)

Interesting Bits of Trivia:
Barbara Steele had a long and prolific career in horror films, but eventually reached a point in her career where she didn't want to do them anymore. She actually retired from acting for about five years, but eventually found her way back into it. Her latest credit however doesn't involve acting at all. She's actually the associate producer on the television show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.




Cast Of Characters
Veronica: Sorry about the semi-crappy screenshot, but I have to tell you, I was surprised at how unflattering all the shots of Barbara Steele were in this movie. Barbara plays Veronica, who's basically nothing more than a sub character with bad fashion sense. She's Phillip's wife, but she's not even in a huge chunk of the movie because she gets dumped in a lake and turns into the witch. Seems like a waste of a big name actress if you ask me.

Phillip: I keep looking at this picture and all I can think is, "God he looks like Bob Saget." Anyway, this is Phillip. He's Veronica's husband, though you'd never know it from his lack of emotion after she gets dumped in the lake and turns into the witch. He doesn't know the witch is his wife, but jeez, if my wife was missing I'd be a hell of a lot more emotional than this guy is. Especially since they were newlyweds and all. Then again, his lack of emotion over his wife's apparent death does confirm one suspicion I have about him. He's gay.

Count Von Helsing : This goofy ol' coot with the kooky eyebrows is the descendant of the historically famous Professor Von Helsing. Yes, the one that brought about the demise of Count Dracula. Well apparently the descendants of the professor have remained in this Transylvanian village for generations, just waiting for the return of the witch. Frankly, seeing the condition that the newly communist Transylvania is in, I think they'd be better off if the witch came back and killed everyone.

Groper: This guy's liver must just hate the ever living hell out of him. All he does is drink incessantly and act like a letch around women. He even tried to rape some girl, but since he was drunk, she managed to get away. He runs the hotel that Veronica and Phillip stayed at, and basically holds himself out as an example of all that is crappy about humanity. On the bright side though, he does get to be the witch's first victim.

The Witch: Yep, this is her. Again, I'm sorry about the crappy screenshot, but they never did give us a really good clean look at her in this movie. She was always movin' around and actin' all freaky, so it was hard to catch her in a non-blurry moment. They say her name repeatedly in this movie, but every time they say it, it's damn near impossible to make out. The closest guess I can come up with is Valda. Anyway, she's really ticked off at this village because two hundred years ago they spiked her to a see-saw and dumped her in a lake. Now she's taken over the body of Veronica so she can come back and exact her revenge. Frankly, if I was her I wouldn't have bothered. The way the people in this village live is already punishment enough.




Screen Shots

Short People got nobody
Short People got nobody
Short People got nobody to love

They got little baby legs
That stand so low
You got to pick 'em up
Just to say hello
They got little cars
That go beep, beep, beep
They got little voices
Goin' peep, peep, peep
They got grubby little fingers
And dirty little minds
They're gonna get you every time
Well, I don't want no Short People
Don't want no Short People
Don't want no Short People 'round here

- from Randy Newman's song, "Short People"

The power of Christ compels you! The power of Christ compels you! The power of...wait, what was that line again? LINE!

(whispered: "The power of Christ compels you...stupid.")

Oh right, that was it... The power of Christ compels you stupid!

Ok now look at that outfit and look at that god awful hat. This is the woman that would one day become associate producer on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. No self respecting gay guy would ever let anyone, man or woman wear a hat like that. And that shirt? Looks like someone spilled a chocolate milkshake on a tablecloth and someone decided to make a shirt out of it.

Please comrade, you have aspirin? My head, she is killing me.

Who the hell is this guy? Willy Wonka? What the heck is with that steering wheel?

Mmmph frummph mmmph frumph mumphfrump. Ha ha ha ha ha!

Ok, I thought this was funny. They make a big deal in this movie about how Transylvania is all communist now and everything. So after the witch hacks the hell out of Groper with a sickle, she throws it on the floor. This is how it landed.




Best Quotes

Phillip: "Take that stinking thing off."
Veronica: "Oh no, the goblins might get me."
Phillip: "With that thing around your neck only the goblins would want you.

 

- Veronica shows Phillip the garlic bud necklace she put on while he was outside beating the snot out of Groper. - (Reviewer's Note: I bet the necklace didn't stink as bad as this movie.)

 


 

Truck Driver: "I have just seen something terrible."
Groper: "Your wife?"

 

- The truck driver talking to Groper after he saves Phillip and Veronica at the lake. - (Reviewer's Note: Hahahahahahaha!)

 


 

Policeman: "The night patrol found him in the chapel. It's the innkeeper."
Police Chief: "Is he able to talk?"
Policeman: "No he already dead."
Police Chief: "Then he's obstructing justice."

 

The police chief then walks over to the truck driver who's been arrested and is now in the cell and kinda freaking out.

 


 

Police Chief: "Well? And what's troubling you? For running over a chicken you won't get more than two years."

 

- A little exchange at the police station when Groper's body was brought in. - (Reviewer's Note: Jeez, these cops are really hardcore!)




Video Clip
When prompted, enter bmovie for the username and central for the password.

The She Beast
The witch is exorcised, and Veronica emerges from the lake just in time to say something stupid.



Summary and Conclusion

It was July 18, 1765, and there was a funeral taking place in a small village in Transylvania. A young boy had been killed by a murderous witch, and the townspeople had gathered in the chapel to bury him. A young boy runs down from the mountains with blood on his face and busts into the chapel. He tells them that he's found the witch and that she's in a cave up by the lake. The priest rallies the villagers to go and kill the beast, while one lone voice, that of the village dwarf, pleads for them to wait for Professor Von Helsing to return so he can exorcise the witch and they can be rid of her once and for all. His pleas fall on deaf ears, and the villagers drag the witch out of her cave, take her down by the lake, nail her to a large lever arm with a giant spike, and then dunk her in the water. Before she dies, she swears to return to the village one day to exact her revenge upon the descendants of those who have killed her.


So that brings us to present day Transylvania, where communism has just taken over. Count Von Helsing is now living in a cave because the communists have very generously relieved him of his castle, and he's just waiting around for the witch to return so that he can perform the exorcism ritual as it was supposed to have been performed two hundred years earlier and the village can be out from under the witch's curse once and for all.


Just as the anniversary of the witch's death is upon them, a young couple arrives at the village, and to make a long story short, they end up losing control of their car and driving into a lake where the girl is transformed into the witch. Von Helsing and the girl's husband work together to rid the village of the witch's curse once and for all and to get the girl back alive and well.


Ok, so that's the general story. Believe me, it sounds a lot more interesting than it is. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, it doesn't sound all that in testing at all. I suppose I should preface my further comments by saying that this is actually an Italian film. What does that mean exactly? Well basically it means that the voices are all dubbed, and not necessarily by the actors who played the roles. It also means that there were a lot of overly dark scenes, and the color of the film was pretty crappy throughout. I'll talk more about the quality of this film and the DVD in a bit though, because first I want to talk about the movie itself.


This film had quite a range to it. It ranged from stupid, to boring, to comical. The only thing this movie really wasn't was scary, and wasn't that what it was supposed to be? Toward the end of the film, there's a car chase scene where the cops are trying to catch Phillip and Von Helsing, and the whole thing is sped up on purpose to make it more comical. I know they were purposely trying to be comical because there are several comical moments involving the police during this section of the movie. Actually, there were quite a few humorous moments in general throughout the film, which isn't unusual for a film of this genre. What was unusual however was that the humor was over used and it detracted from the tenseness and the overall scariness of what was supposed to be a serious film.


The character development in general wasn't overly stellar, but it wasn't non-existent either. The film was full of unlikable characters, with the one and only exception being Count Von Helsing. He was a kooky old guy who dressed like a college professor from the late 1800's and he came off as a genuinely nice, caring man. The same however cannot be said for anyone else in this film. Veronica was very patronizing to the locals, Phillip was pretty much just a jerk, and Groper was basically your typical scum of the earth type character. In fact, most of the people in this film are so utterly intolerable that If you manage to stay awake long enough to make it to the end of the film, you'll probably find yourself disappointed that the witch didn't kill everyone.


The acting was exactly what you'd expect in an Italian film. With Italian films of this era, it pretty much boils down to one of those if you've seen one, you've seen them all kinda things. They all have the same quality of acting and the same dubbed over voices, the same look, and the same look to the cinematography. So basically, there's nothing real innovative or interesting here on a technical level. I do want to say though that John Karlsen who played Von Helsing and Mel Welles who played Groper both did a good job, and performed at a much higher level than anyone else in the film.


The one thing that made this film far less enjoyable for me was the quality of the DVD itself. This movie was obviously shot in widescreen, but the transfer looks like it was done from a video tape that was transferred in full frame from old source film. Basically, the color is bad, the night shots are overly dark, the sound is somewhat muddy, and the general quality of the whole thing was bad. This is unusual for a release from Alpha Video, but it was probably the only materials they had to work with, and they did what they could with it. My only real complaint about Alpha is that they don't release films in widescreen very often. It's my opinion that there's no excuse for this at all and they really need to release these classics in their original aspect ratio. This particular film was obviously cropped down from widescreen, but wasn't really pan and scanned much at all, leaving you with characters that are half way out of the shots at various times. As an example, look at my shot of Groper in the screenshots section. Look how far off the side of the screen he is. If this film had been mastered in its original aspect ratio, it wouldn't look like that.


Generally, this wasn't a horrible film, but it wasn't a cinematic masterpiece either. I had actually toyed with the notion of giving it a bat rating, but because of the humor and because of the generally decent acting, I felt that it deserved to be pulled out of the guano from whence it came, and given a slightly better rating. The ending of this movie made me have second thoughts about that though when Von Helsing and Philip basically didn't perform any exorcism ritual at all and didn't use any of the ritual stuff that Von Helsing had brought with them. Basically they just tied her to the lever and dumped her in the water, which is exactly what they did two hundred years ago. Von Helsing had been going through the whole film talking about how important the ritual was if they were to be rid of her once and for all, but then when it came time to do it, they didn't do squat. Now I know this movie was longer than it had to be, but don't you think leaving the most important part out of the ending was just a little stupid? Well I do, but it wasn't stupid enough to drag it back down to a bat rating, so I've decided to stick with my original plan and I'm giving this snoozeapalooza of a movie...

 

B-Movie Central's Rating: 1 Bee

 

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